Den pooty soon he know it’s a-STANNIN’ by de bed! (Pause.) Den —he know it’s a-BENDIN’ down over him—en he cain’t skasely git his breath! Den—den—he seem to feel someth’n’ C-O-L-D, right down ’most agin his head! (Pause.)
Den de voice say, right at his year—“W-h-o—g-o-t—m-y g-o-l-d-e-n arm?” (You must wail it out very plaintively and accusingly; then you stare steadily and impressively into the face of the farthest-gone auditor —a girl, preferably—and let that awe-inspiring pause begin to build itself in the deep hush. When it has reached exactly the right length, jump suddenly at that girl and yell, “You’ve got it!”)
If you’ve got the pause right, she’ll fetch a dear little yelp and spring right out of her shoes. But you must get the pause right; and you will find it the most troublesome and aggravating and uncertain thing you ever undertook.
GENERAL WASHINGTON’S NEGRO BODY-SERVANT
A Biographical Sketch
The stirring part of this celebrated colored man’s life properly began with his death—that is to say, the notable features of his biography began with the first time he died. He had been little heard of up to that time, but since then we have never ceased to hear of him; we have never ceased to hear of him at stated, unfailing intervals. His was a most remarkable career, and I have thought that its history would make a valuable addition to our biographical literature. Therefore, I have carefully collated the materials for such a work, from authentic sources, and here present them to the public. I have rigidly excluded from these pages everything of a doubtful character, with the object in view of introducing my work into the schools for the instruction of the youth of my country.
The name of the famous body-servant of General Washington was George. After serving his illustrious master faithfully for half a century, and enjoying throughout his long term his high regard and confidence, it became his sorrowful duty at last to lay that beloved master to rest in his peaceful grave by the Potomac. Ten years afterward —in 1809—full of years and honors, he died himself, mourned by all who knew him. The Boston Gazette of that date thus refers to the event:
George, the favorite body-servant of the lamented Washington, died in Richmond, Va., last Tuesday, at the ripe age of 95 years. His intellect was unimpaired, and his memory tenacious, up to within a few minutes of his decease. He was present at the second installation of Washington as President, and also at his funeral, and distinctly remembered all the prominent incidents connected with those noted events.
From this period we hear no more of the favorite body-servant of General Washington until May, 1825, at which time he died again. A Philadelphia paper thus speaks of the sad occurrence: